Daily Journal

KANKAKEE — Kankakee County officials were prepared for the worst when calculating expected shortfalls of sales and use tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve McCarty, county finance director, said he has been pleasantly surprised and appreciative of how the revenue has continued to flow during the months of shutdowns and restrictions.

“We’re doing well compared to what the state is showing overall,” said McCarty at Thursday finance committee meeting. “Hopefully, that trend will continue. It’s positive news overall.”

The county sales-use tax for February was $353,673 and increased by 5% to $372,412 for March. It dipped by 2% to $365,694 for April, the latest month totals.

The total sales tax in the general fund (countywide sales tax and county sales tax) for March of this year was $281,667 compared to $354,471 in 2019, a decrease of 21%. It was $269,627 in April compared to $359,503 in April of ‘19, a decrease of 25%, so it was not a big of drop has some might have feared.

Income tax has also remained steady in the past two months. There was $172,217 collected in May compared to $179,975 in May 2019. There was $288,587 collected in June, compared to $269,148 in June 2019, an increase of $19,439.

In addition, the money the county has on hand to pay its bills has been steady.

“Overall right now, cash flow is in a good position,” McCarty said. “… The impact of the change that happens in the fiscal year usually shows up for us in the spring. Right now it looks like there are no problems.

“We have $7.5 million in the bank,” he said. “It does feel nice paying bills right now. We don’t have to sweat it out trying to figure out who, when and how. We also have to keep in mind the drought, if you will, always shows up in the springtime months, so we’re also watching that very closely as far as trends and how it will show up. It’s pretty straight forward right now.”

County Treasurer Nick Africano also reported that property tax bill collections have been strong. The amount of money collected so far is just .64 percent less than 2019.

“We haven’t seen any change as a result of COVID in terms of collection,” Africano said. “The Sept. 3 [installment] will be a telltale, but this is very good news. The first installment looks like all other first installments. … It speaks to taxpayers in this county, and I’m sure it’s not easy ever, but this year was even more difficult. To see it identical is a great thing. It keeps the county on track.”

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